Depart from Home
Cross the International Dateline and begin the adventure of a lifetime by skipping a day ahead.
Cairns, Australia - Tour Begins
Your tour opens in Cairns, the tropical gateway to one of the world’s most spectacular natural attractions and a World Heritage site – the Great Barrier Reef. Established as a marine park in 1975, the reef is a haven for thousands of species of sea life, as well as turtles and birds.
Great Barrier Reef
Today, board a catamaran and sail to the Low Isles to explore the fascinating underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. Choose how you want to spend your day in paradise by making your time on the reef as educational or as laid back as you like. Perhaps you will relax and independently explore the pristine shores of this tiny sand island located on the outer reef. Or maybe you are a bit more adventurous and will go snorkeling, revealing a wealth of vibrant sea life. You also have the opportunity to meet with a marine biologist during an informative presentation. Or you may also opt to join an expert for a beach and heritage trail walk along the island.
The morning is yours to explore the town at your own pace or simply relax and soak up the tropical atmosphere. This afternoon, visit Hartley’s Croc Farm for a chance to get up-close and personal with crocodiles in their natural habitat. Boardwalks take you on a path of adventure through rainforests and woodlands to see animals such as wild birds, reptiles and wallabies. While visiting you also have the chance to meet some of the local koalas and have a private talk with a wildlife naturalist to learn more about these cuddly creatures.
Cairns - Melbourne
Leave Cairns behind and fly to the beautiful Victorian city of Melbourne. Set around the shores of Port Phillip Bay and the Yarra River, the city exudes a lively and cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Today’s tour of Melbourne features Fitzroy Gardens, valued for their historic and horticultural significance, and the bustling Victoria Market. Next, learn how raw opals mined from the depths of the Earth are transformed into beautiful works of art at the National Opal Centre. Later, you may participate in an optional tour that travels to Phillip Island, a renowned nature reserve and home of the world’s largest colony of Little Penguins. Protected and studied by rangers, hundreds of them waddle out of the sea and cross the beach to their burrows in the dunes. At the interpretation center, you have a chance to learn about the lives of the Little Penguins and their significance to the area.
Melbourne - Alice Springs
Leave the bustling city of Melbourne behind for the vast landscapes and tranquility of the Outback. Your flight today takes you to Alice Springs, the hub of the region and the perfect place to begin exploring this unique land. A special experience is in store this evening as you have the opportunity to meet the young Aboriginal group, Drum Atweme. Supported by the Collette Foundation,* Drum Atweme is a musical group comprised of at-risk youth from the local community. Tonight, continue your cultural immersion with a memorable bush dinner set against the backdrop of this unique desert environment.
Access the history and culture of the Walpiri Aboriginal people during a "Dreamtime Tour” where your specialist guide shares stories of creation and everyday Aboriginal life. This afternoon, discover a more modern side to Outback life when you visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service, a lifeline to thousands across the vast terrain of Central Australia. Later, tour the Old Telegraph Station and Anzac Hill with its excellent views of Alice Springs and the surrounding area.
Alice Springs - Uluru
This morning you will be traversing the “Red Centre” as you drive to Uluru (the Aboriginal name for Ayers Rock) in the heart of the Australian Outback. This huge monolith and the sandstone domes known as Kata Tjuta were created through the process of upheaval and erosion. Tour Kata Tjuta and the base of “the Rock,” learning about their geology and significance to Aboriginal culture. Prepare for a truly majestic sunset as you witness the changing colors of Uluru accompanied by a champagne toast.
Uluru - Sydney
Say farewell to the quiet of the rugged Outback and fly to Sydney, an energetic metropolis. Upon arrival in Sydney, enjoy dinner in the bustling Darling Harbour restaurant area.
See where the original English colonists first settled in 1788 during a city tour of Sydney. Highlights of your tour include Kings Cross, the Harbour Bridge, Chinatown, the Rocks, Circular Quay, the Botanic Gardens and the fashionable suburb of Paddington. Discover one of the world’s most fascinating architectural sights as you take a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House, poised majestically on Sydney Harbour. Then, discover the wonders of Sydney by using your free time to pursue your own interests: stroll through the city streets, visit the historic Rocks area or simply relax. Your Tour Manager will be on hand to offer suggestions.
Your day is at leisure to deepen your exploration of Sydney’s many wonders or catch up on your shopping. Tonight, experience the best of Sydney. As you say your farewell to Australia, chat with new friends and take in the sights during a delightful dinner cruise of Sydney Harbour. Marvel at the scenic vistas the harbour has to offer including Sydney’s magnificent skyline and iconic attractions: the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
Sydney - Christchurch, New Zealand
Today you leave Australia behind and fly to the historic city of Christchurch. Devastated by an earthquake in early 2011, see firsthand how the “Garden City” is recreating itself during a sightseeing tour that highlights the city’s magnificent gardens and elegant park district.
Christchurch - Franz Josef Glacier
Take in the marvelous snowcapped peaks and beautiful river gorges during your travels across the Southern Alps, winding your way past waterfalls and rugged mountains. You may choose to take the TranzAlpine train (optional) for a truly inspiring train ride through this glorious scenery. You will end your day in the Franz Josef Glacier Region which offers travelers a rare opportunity to experience a living glacial landscape in a temperate environment.
Franz Josef - Queenstown
Before departing Franz Josef, if the dynamic New Zealand weather cooperates, you may opt to see this beautiful glacier region from a bird’s-eye-view during a flightseeing tour. En route to Queenstown, watch as the amazing landscape unfolds before your eyes as you pass through the rainforest, bordered by the Southern Alps and the twisting coastline. Cross jade green glacial rivers, view thundering waterfalls and enjoy dramatic changes in scenery. After crossing the Haast Pass, arrive in Queenstown, one of New Zealand’s prettiest towns.
Queenstown - Milford Sound - Queenstown
En route to Milford Sound, enjoy the rugged grandeur of the Hollyford Valley. You’ll travel through ancient beech forest via the Homer Tunnel. During a cruise of the breathtakingly beautiful Milford Sound, you’ll see why this fjord is one of the most visited sights on the South Island. With rock faces that rise nearly 4,000 feet on either side, the scenery will take your breath away. Following the cruise, you return to Queenstown. You may choose to return via a short optional flight (weather permitting) for spectacular views of New Zealand’s Southern Alps.
Queenstown offers limitless diversions set amidst breathtaking Alpine scenery. Shop in the charming village center or enjoy an optional and exhilarating jet boat ride on the Shotover River. Perhaps you will join the optional "Journey through Middle Earth" tour which takes you through the majestic Remarkable Mountains and the breathtaking Queenstown countryside showcasing many of the spots where The Lord of the Rings movies were filmed. Or…just relax!
Queenstown - Mt. Cook Region
Begin your day with a visit to the beautiful 19th-century gold rush settlement of Arrowtown, a boomtown during the 1860s gold fever. Next, enjoy a tasting and tour at one of New Zealand’s famous wineries. Then, sample the freshness of the Central Otago region with a stop at a local fruit stand. Follow the Kawarau River and cross Lindis Pass before arriving in New Zealand’s most famous national park, Mt. Cook. There will be time to enjoy the Alpine paradise of the Mt. Cook region. You may choose to take a nature walk, enjoy an optional glacier flightseeing tour (weather permitting) or simply meditate on the beauty of the Southern Alps.
Mt. Cook - Christchurch
As you return to Christchurch this morning, pay a visit to a working farm. Watch a skilled New Zealand “strong eye” sheep herding dog at work, followed by a sheep shearing demonstration. Get to know these New Zealand farmers over a home-cooked morning tea. A special treat is in store for you tonight as you dine with a New Zealand family in their home. Meet and talk firsthand with a friendly Kiwi family who is delighted to share their culture, traditions and home with you.
Christchurch - Tour Ends
Your tour ends, leaving you with many pleasant memories of a wonderful vacation.